Anki (Memorization Software) for Beginners

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Spaced RepetitionEvents (Community)
Personal Blog

Please bring either (or both!) a laptop or a smartphone for this event!

Anki is a spaced-repetition software that helps people to remember things in the long term. For example, Anki is often used to learn foreign languages and medicine, which both require a lot of memorization. Starting to use Anki may be a little bit tricky and the goal of this event is to help you explore and try the software to see whether you like it.

For the first part, I'll help guide the audience through setting up Anki.

Then, I'll quickly show personal examples explaining how Anki changed my life in many ways, to illustrate what can be done with it. For example:

  • I now remember the name of people I meet,
  • I can finally play some music without music sheets, and
  • when I start studying more of a topic after a few months of pauses (mathematics, CS, music theory,...) I don't forget everything I learned months ago!

Afterwards, I will be available to answer any beginner question (if there is any question you already know you have, please ask it to arthur@milchior.fr or in comment below, or on facebook. I'll check all of those).

If you are curious and can't attend, all examples are on http://www.milchior.fr/blog_en/index.php/category/Anki

Hosts' bio

I've used anki since 2016 and uses it daily. I contributed to Anki and Ankidroid (for Android) code. I also created add-ons for anki which have been downloaded 40 thousand times.

5 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 6:16 PM
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I do know neuroscience, and catastrophic forgetting can be a thing, particularly for short-term memory, if your learning isn't structured. If you find structure - through mnemonic devices such as Anki, or via understanding deep relationships between things, then the more you know, the *easier* it becomes to learn new things.

Do Anki. It's totally worth it.

I certainly do agree that it's worth spending time with anki. I'm not sure why you told it in a comment here. I might be the only person seing this comment (given that it was posted just before the event), and I don't really need to be convinced.

This might be a bit of a hardball question for an event post, but I've always worried that memory was a zero sum game, and that by using a memorization tool like this I am artificially pushing out information my brain was saving based on its utility. I have the same worry about reading C.S. or math books that I often don't end up using immediately in my work. Is there any evidence you've seen that could address this?

I honestly state that I'm not in any way an expert in memory, nor in neuroscience. I am highly skeptical of your claim. In my experience, improving my learning process means that I remember more and more things. It's true that I probably discover new things more slowly, because know, instead of just reading a thing, thinking "how, that was interesting" and forgetting it a week later, I need to take time to add the thing in Anki and review it. However, here, anki means that I can discover things I was not able to discover before. Indeed, since I kept forgetting the fundamentals notions of a domain I wanted to discover, I have never been able to advance and discover more advanced notions. Now I can.

Anyway, I share @Pattern's point of view. Even if you were right, Anki will help you to prioritize and remember what you want to remember, instead of remembering what stayed in your mind for some unknown reason. And, whether you're right or wrong, anki takes time; which is some time you can't spend doing other things. So, you certainly need to decide what you will or won't add to anki, and how much time you want to spend on it. Given your worry, you might want to avoid following my advice about how to learn math with anki, since you believe it'll be useless. My job rely heavily on math, so I just adapted anki to my own priorities, and it makes a lot of sens to assume they are not yours

Can you think of something

  • worth remembering that you don't remember quite as well as you'd like (marginal memorization increase rather than total)
  • that you are in the process of memorizing (but haven't finished yet)? (possible shortcut for efficiency increase)